Welcome, 77 artists, 40 different points of Attica welcomes you by singing Erotokritos an epic romance written at 1713 by Vitsentzos Kornaros

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Berg's 2 goals lead Panathinaikos to hard-earned 3-1 victory over Apollon in Greek league

by  Associated Press Panathinaikos beats Apollon 3-1 in Greek league Associated Press - 22 March 2014 15:48-04:00

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Marcus Berg scored twice to lead Panathinaikos to a 3-1 victory over Apollon in the Greek league Saturday.

The Swedish forward opened the scoring in the 33rd minute and added his league-leading 15th in the 86th to make it 2-1. Thanasis Panteliadis netted an own-goal for Panathinaikos' third in the 90th.

Darren Ambrose had equalized in the 80th for Apollon.

The win lifted Panathinaikos to a three-way tie for second place with PAOK and Atromitos, 18 points behind already-crowned champion Olympiakos. The other three teams play Sunday.

Apollon remains in 15th place, one point above the relegation zone.

"We deserved a point ... we just haven't had any luck lately," said Apollon coach Lawrie Sanchez.

Also, fifth-place Asteras won 1-0 at Panetolikos and Panthrakikos beat last-place Aris 2-1.

News Topics: Sports, Soccer, Men's soccer, Men's sports

People, Places and Companies: Greece, Western Europe, Europe

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Greek central banker defends stress test results: paper

The banks' capital needs were a sticking point in the latest bailout review by Greece's lenders, which ended this week after six months of wrangling. The EU and IMF, which had estimated that the banks' needs would be higher, said in a statement ...


National Bank of Greece : NBG) Swings to Profit in FY13

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'Sopranos meets Middle-earth': how Game of Thrones took over our world

Fans await the fourth series of a show that has transformed fantasy fiction into the most popular escapism on TV

The biggest drama on television returns in two weeks' time for its eagerly awaited fourth season, bringing a host of questions. Will Jon Snow hold back the forces of darkness converging on The Wall? Can Daenerys Targaryen control her fast-growing dragons and cross the narrow sea to claim the iron throne of Westeros? Will Tyrion Lannister continue to astutely navigate the political corridors of Westeros's capital, King's Landing, or does the return of his Machiavellian father Tywin mean trouble for everyone's favourite sharp-tongued dwarf?

If the above paragraph reads like so much nonsense, then chances are you're one of the few people who haven't jumped on the growing Game of Thrones bandwagon. In four years, this epic (and epically convoluted) tale of a kingdom torn apart by machinations, murder and mayhem has become the most talked about show on TV, critically acclaimed, widely watched and referenced on everything from South Park to Parks and Recreation.

So why has this show come to exert such a grip on our imaginations? Adapted by David Benioff and D B Weiss from George R R Martin's best-selling books, Game of Thrones is a dark and bloody fantasy drama set in a quasi-medieval world and featuring a huge cast of characters, many of whom are prone to delivering doom-laden speeches about the corrupting nature of power. It's sprawling, complicated, and occasionally cheesy, and it really shouldn't work as effectively it does, dragging the audience along for a brutal but exhilarating ride that all too frequently ends with viewers saying, "I can't believe they just did that", as yet another fan favourite ends up face down, dead in the dust.

Yet it does work. Game of Thrones is HBO's biggest hit since The Sopranos, averaging more than 13 million viewers per episode, as well as being the world's most pirated show, with the finale of season three illegally downloaded six million times. In the UK it pulls in over a million viewers per episode for Sky Atlantic, while in February, season three became the fastest selling TV box set in a decade. At a preview screening at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, New York, fans queued for hours, dressed as their favourite character, and last week there was talk of movie spinoffs, with Martin telling the Hollywood Reporter: "It might need a feature to tie things up."

There are cats and dogs called Tyrion, after the schemer played by Peter Dinklage, and a growing generation of girls named Arya and Sansa in honour of the long-suffering Stark sisters. YouTube is full of inventive fan videos and you can purchase anything from handcrafted dragons' eggs to a replica Iron Throne.

Celebrity fans include Barack Obama, who recently joked that he'd asked HBO to get him DVDs of the new season, and Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg, who said she identified with Daenerys Targaryen, despite the fact that Daenerys is more likely to incinerate the competition than ask them to lean in.

"Game of Thrones sits at a sweet spot between fun and serious," says Alyssa Rosenberg, culture writer for the Washington Post. "It has dragons! Sword fights! But it's also extremely clear-eyed about politics, gender and sexuality, and the vicious inequalities that produce some of its fun. That makes it highly enjoyable, but also gives the show a more substantive claim to the kind of political insight that so many prestige dramas claim."

It wasn't always like this. When the show began in 2011, and despite the huge fanbase in place, everyone seemed desperate to play down its fantasy roots.

During publicity tours, the talk was all of "The Sopranos meets Middle-earth", with the emphasis firmly on the dark deeds of David Chase's mob drama rather than JRR Tolkien's epic tale. Parallels were drawn with historical events and newspaper articles compared it to everything from Greek tragedy to Dynasty. The subtext: don't mention the fantasy. Despite the success of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, there was a whiff of snobbery.

"It might work on a big screen where audiences are looking for escapism," said the naysayers. "But you'll never build an audience on TV. People will be turned off by the swords and the sorcery and, most of all, by the names." That prejudice was reflected in some sniffy early reviews, most notably in the New York Times, which dismissed the show as "boy fiction patronisingly turned out to reach the population's other half", before wearily concluding: "If you're not averse to the Dungeons & Dragons aesthetic, the series might be worth the effort."

In Britain, Caitlin Moran penned a witty mea culpa last year, retracting her negative review of the first season, claiming: "I made a mistake, I didn't get it. I didn't see." She was not alone. Even those of us who had devoured the books were wary of how to sell the adaptation. "Yes, it's got magic in it, but it's not elves and quests, it's really about politics and betrayal," ran one of my favourite gambits. "Yes, the book covers do have lurid pictures of half-naked women on them, but that doesn't really capture the story or the dark appeal of Martin's world …"

Those lurid covers are long gone. Gone, too, is the sense that fantasy is a dirty word – Da Vinci's Demons, Black Sails and Outlander are all trying to capture a similar mix of epic sweep and dark deeds. "There's a light yearning for fantasy in pop culture," says Gawker writer Michelle Dean. "It has nothing to do with the genre, so much as longing for something escapist."

It also helps that it is the best sort of popcorn television, an entertaining mix of political skulduggery, big-budget battles and, of course, nudity. "The nudity certainly helped it become water-cooler television," says Dean of the many scenes in which characters just happen to be naked when discussing major plot points, a device one US critic labelled "sexposition".

Yet the nudity for nudity's sake has diminished. As Daniel Mendelsohn argued in the New York Review of Books: "Those who complained about the TV series' graphic and 'exploitative' use of women's bodies are missing the godswood for the weirwood trees: whatever the prurient thrills they provide the audience, these demeaning scenes … also function as a constant reminder of what the main female characters are escaping from."

Thus Lena Headey's Cersei is at her most sympathetic when railing against her marital fate, while the joy of Daenerys is that she has an advantage most of the female characters do not: the three baby dragons who bolster her claim. "I don't know how many hardened fantasy-haters can hold out against baby dragons for long," jokes Rosenberg, adding: "Game of Thrones gets a pass from a lot of folks because of its brutal politics and the sense that it's not very interested in happy endings."

But the big question is, will there be an ending at all? Martin has written five books out of a proposed seven-book series, with book six due in 2015. But this is an expensive show and HBO is committed to seven seasons, which would mean a finale in 2016. It seems inevitable that a compromise will have to be made – with Benioff and Weiss deviating from the books or sticking with Martin's proposed ending and spoiling the novels for those who have patiently waited for the story to unfold.

Both sides remain upbeat that a satisfactory conclusion will be reached. Until then, the focus remains on the start of season four. As spooky red priestess Melisandre has repeatedly promised: "The night is dark and full of terrors." In a fortnight's time, millions of eager viewers will tune in to see what shape those terrors take.

Game of Thrones season four starts on Sky Atlantic on 7 April at 9pm

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Panathinaikos beats Apollon 3-1 in Greek league

Panathinaikos beats Apollon 3-1 in Greek leagueAnchorage Daily NewsATHENS, Greece — Marcus Berg scored twice to lead Panathinaikos to a 3-1 victory over Apollon in the Greek league Saturday. The Swedish forward opened the scoring in the 33rd minute and added his league-leading 15th in the 86th to make it 2-1.and more »


Olympiakos Buries Laboral Kutxa, 89-59

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The post Olympiakos Buries Laboral Kutxa, 89-59 appeared first on The National Herald.


Interview with Leadership 100 Chair Tsandikos

NEW YORK – George Tsandikos is the new Chairman of Leadership 100, an organization that collects money from wealthy Greek-Americans and supports the sustenance of various ministries of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Senior Client Advisor for Rockefeller Wealth Advisors and Managing Director of Rockefeller & Co., Tsandikos is the son of a successful […]

The post Interview with Leadership 100 Chair Tsandikos appeared first on The National Herald.


S&P Gives “Stable” Greek Economy Another B-

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The post S&P Gives “Stable” Greek Economy Another B- appeared first on The National Herald.


3,000 Police in Athens for Independence Day

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Diaspora Bondholder Suit Rejected

Greece's highest court has ruled the government had the right to inflict huge losses on holders of Greek bonds, including in the Diaspora.

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Milk Fight Undermines Troika Deal

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The post Milk Fight Undermines Troika Deal appeared first on The National Herald.


Greece Goes After Fake Hires

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The post Greece Goes After Fake Hires appeared first on The National Herald.


Fresh Milk Fight Could Spoil Troika Deal

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When Greeks are bringing real gifts: an EU strategy for Western Balkans

by  Dan Alexe “That region, the Western Balkans, is like a hole in the European map”

(Dimitris Kourkoulas, Greek Minister for European affairs)

In the middle of the Greek presidency, New Europe asked Dimitris Kourkoulas, Deputy Foreign Minister in the Greek government and Minister in charge of European affairs and of the Greek presidency, for an assessment of what Athens has achieved in the first half of its presidency:

Dimitris Kourkoulas: I think that if you look at the way the Greek presidency has managed to deal with all legislative proposals entrusted to it, and that we managed to find a lot of compromises between the Parliament and the Council, which is one of the main task of any presidency, we have been very successful indeed. We have been able to push through Parliament a great deal of urgent files. All in all, in just 12 weeks of presidency, we have a number of more than 36 important dossiers that have been adopted. Of course, our main goal is to obtain an agreement on the Single Resolution Mechanism. We will know in a few days if we have been successful in this.

New Europe: This is something that you have inherited from the Lithuanian presidency.

Dimitris Kourkoulas: Exactly. This is a very big step for the conclusion of our Banking union; a final resolution would be something of great importance for all EU countries, especially for the Southern, Mediterranean countries, to arrive at giving stability to the banking sector all over Europe. If we can’t find a comprise now, then we are going to lose at least one year in order to be able to come back to this.

New Europe: That means that you will have to pass it over to the next presidency.

Dimitris Kourkoulas: Yes, but then we’ll then have another Parliament, and, if you look at the timetables, we can’t obtain a result before twelve months, so we believe it’s extremely important, especially before the European elections, to give a positive signal now. I think Europe is coming out of the crisis now. It is not a secret that Europe wasn’t prepared to face such a crisis, but I think that now we are becoming stronger together, in our economic and monetary union, in order to be able to address such issues, and especially the social damage that has been done, or the big problem of unemployment.

New Europe: So, can you anticipate what would have been your main achievement during this presidency, even if we are only in the middle of it?

Dimitris Kourkoulas: I think our ambition is to play an honest role, not in favour of Greek interests, but of the Europeans’ interests at large.  That’s why, apart from the monetary union and unemployment and growth, we have included two very important objectives in our programme. First of all: migration; we believe that it is not normal that EU doesn’t have a comprehensive policy to address this very important phenomenon of migration, legal or illegal, which unfortunately will be with us for many years to come. So I believe we need a more comprehensive policy, and therefore have to take concrete steps. The European Summit in June is going to adopt new strategic directives on this topic. Also, we have to bring home the importance of an integrated maritime policy. This is also very important. Most of the goods are coming to our continent through sea routes. So, security —or rather maritime security— will be one the issues that will be addressed in the next few weeks. And, for the first time, the EU will have a maritime security strategy.

New Europe: Another priority of the Greek presidency, which was announced back in January, was a common policy for the Western Balkans. What are your concrete steps towards helping that region?

Dimitris Kourkoulas : Yes... During the Thessaloniki summit in 2004,  the EU endorsed for the first time the idea of a European perspective for the Western Balkans. We are fully supportive of the European perspective of all countries from the Western Balkans. We have a very clear roadmap. The potential candidates also know what has to be done. We are glad that we were able to start accession negotiations with Serbia during our presidency. And we hope that also other countries, all the countries of the region, will be able to make progress. It is of strategic importance for Europe, for Greece first of all, but also for Europe as a whole, to have the Western Balkans in. That region is like a hole in the European map. So, I personally think that the enlargement process has been one of the most successful policies of the EU.

New Europe: Including the accession of Romania and Bulgaria ?

 Dimitris Kourkoulas : Of course, and I’m glad that I was personally involved in that process.

New Europe: You don’t think today that it was a mistake to take Romania and Bulgaria in?

Dimitris Kourkoulas : Look, we can’t change a whole society in one, or five, or ten years. Those societies have a different history, they were for many decades isolated from the rest of Europe. They were not exposed to the market economy, to the democratic system. But their progress is impressive. And in any case, Europe’s stability depends on the stability of those countries.

New Europe: When will this enlargement stop? How about the countries of the Eastern Partnership? Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia… Why not take them in too? Do they belong in Europe as well?

Dimitris Kourkoulas: We have offered to those countries partnership agreements. It is a very close type of relationship. But I think the time has not yet come to take further steps with them. Yes, they are Europeans, but it is too early now to establish a timetable for them. For the time being, we will sign association agreements with Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine. It is a very close form of cooperation, without going as far as to offer accession negotiations.

New Europe: Ukraine has been offered a financial package of 11 billion euros. How will this money be spread all over Ukraine? How about Crimea? Will part of the money go to Crimea as well?

Dimitris Kourkoulas : We are used to spending money in very complicated circumstances. Take the example of Cyprus, where theoretically you have the whole of the island being member of the EU, but you also have the occupied part of Cyprus, where the European legislation isn’t implemented. We know how to develop special mechanisms, there is a lot of expertise for that in the EU. Of course, we have to wait and see how the situation evolves in Crimea and Ukraine. Any financial assistance to Ukraine, or to other countries, will have to be accompanied by very strong conditions concerning the use of the money. We don’t want that money to go to the wrong pockets.

New Europe: Will the Cyprus experience be useful for Ukraine, in the case of Crimea?

Dimitris Kourkoulas: There are a lot of differences between the two cases. I am sure the right mechanism will be found.

New Europe: Does it mean that Cyprus will in its turn contribute to these billions for Ukraine?

Dimitris Kourkoulas: Yes, whatever comes from the EU comes from all the member states.

New Europe: When you said that the Western Balkans have a European vocation and that one day they will become EU members, do you include here Kosovo and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia ?

Dimitris Kourkoulas: Sure. I remind you that we are in negotiations with Montenegro and with Serbia. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is also a candidate country, although negotiations have not yet started. We are very glad that we achieved the launch of a dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. We, Europeans, must be proud of our positive contribution. This is an example of good diplomacy, because Europe is, and has to remain, a force of peace and stability.


Iraq: prime minister lashes out at 'reckless' civil servants

Civil service global roundup: Greeks strike against austerity measures and Malaysian officials warned not to speculate on missing plane

Iraq: prime minister lashes out at 'reckless' civil servants

The Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki accused unnamed government officials of deliberately hampering the political process, on his weekly televised address to the nation.

He said that some civil servants had "an intentional disrespect for citizens with the aim of turning them against the country's new political system and the current government", the Turkish Press reported.

Al-Malaki said that officials were neglecting public services with the intention of eroding public confidence in the government.

Wales: former top civil servant left with £200,000 exit package

Dame Gill Morgan, the former permanent secretary to the Welsh government who left in August 2012, received a payment of up to £195,000, accounts show.

The Labour government's accounts state that she "retired on voluntary exit terms", as reported in Wales Online.

The accounts also show that the former director general is still being paid his old salary, despite having stepped down last September.

The Welsh Conservative party has criticised the "excessive salary top-ups and pay-offs" given to senior civil servants.

Greece: civil servants strike against austerity measures

Around 3000 civil servants, including teachers and hospital staff, took part in a two-day strike this week in protest against austerity measures, U-T San Diego reported.

The Greek government has had to cut wages and jobs in the public sector as part of a package of economic reforms agreed with its international creditors.

Malaysia: civil servants cautioned not to spread rumours about missing plane

A directive has been issued to about 1.4 million civil servants, cautioning them not to speculate or spread inaccurate information about Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which disappeared two weeks ago.

The director-general of public services Tan Sri Mohamad Zabidi Zainal was quoted in the Malaysia Chronicle saying, "I would like civil servants to be the nation's first line of defence by not adding fuel to fire."

China: teachers and civil servants get the most sleep, survey finds

Civil servants and teachers are getting the best sleep in China while media professionals sleep poorly, according to the 2014 China Sleep Quality Index.

The survey, published by the Chinese Medical Doctor's Association and reported in the South China Morning Post, asked 8000 people from across China to rank the quality of their sleep out of 100.

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Global public leaders seriesWalesMalaysiaIraqGreeceChinaNouri © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Greek Teacher Layoffs End Public Job Security After 103 Years

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Thessaloniki Mou

Most visitors to Greece make Athens their base before leaving for the islands.  If you are someone who travels to Greece regularly and have never been to Northern Greece, there is no question a stay in Thessaloniki will surprise and delight you. Give yourself a treat and “go north.”  Traffic is slower here, life is […]

The post Thessaloniki Mou appeared first on The National Herald.


Quartz Weekend Brief—The birth of the universe, Greek pharmacists, weird ...

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